Give me just the hint of an excuse, just a whisper of a reason, just an inkling of gesture, and I’ll find a reason to politely and quietly back out of social plans that involve more than four people I don’t know. I have some rock solid excuses for coyly excusing myself from social situations where I will, no doubt, be awkward and weird.
Excuse number one: traffic. I live on the other side of town and you know it will take me approximately two days and 4 hours to get to that restaurant. Nevermind that I live on the other side of town on purpose.
Number two: my cat. I actually don’t know why this is an excuse. I should generally want to get away from the creature that is constantly hunting my shins.
Excuse number three: pizza. Ooooh. I wish you would have called earlier. I just took a pizza out of the oven and I’m going to eat it all, all all all all. Eat it all. I didn’t even have to knead the dough. I’m totally going to eat it all.
Um… I sound so unkind and unsharing. Really I’m just awkward (and I like pizza) (and I’m not very good at sharing).
Ok… so I might be the last person on the Internet to make Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough.
I was inspired by Tracy’s Cheese and Basil Pizza and vowed to make my own. I made my version with a dash of whole wheat flour. For my health… so I could justify too many slices.
This pizza dough is so wonderfully easy. It’s totally a dump, stir, wait, and press situation.
Let’s start with the dump. Whole wheat flour and bread flour are mixed with a bit of sugar, salt, and yeast. In goes the warm water. Dump!
The dough is stirred with a hearty wooden spoon, into a shaggy configuration. It needs a bit more work.
I got at the dough with my hands to form this ball.
The dough is on the drier side of dough. It feels a bit tough… not like the smooth pizza dough you might see at fancy pizza restaurants. Not to worry. A few hours of resting will help redistribute the moisture and create a smoother dough.
This is where we wait.
While we wait for the dough to rest and rise, I roasted some hatch chili peppers.
Hatch chiles are on the spicier side of mild. They’re one of my favorite heat hot chiles because they’re flavorful and spicy, but still bearable. In order to easily peel the chiles, I used The Pioneer Woman’s blister and steam technique.
Essentially, the whole chiles are placed under a screamin’ hot broiler. Flame. Tongs. Chili. Char!
The hot chiles are placed in a sealed plastic bag for 20 minutes. This helps loosen the charred skin. It’s mucho magic.
Just a little peeling action.
After I peel the chiles I cut off the tops and pull out most of the seeds. A coarse chopping of the chiles will do.
Aaaand we’re back at it with the dough.
After 2 hours of resting and rising the dough will be alive and bubbly.
Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Yes, this recipe makes two fantastic pizzas. Either make two in one night, or wrap and freeze one dough for future pizza. Just thaw the frozen dough in the fridge overnight and allow to come to room temperature on the counter before using.
Liberally drizzle a rimmed baking sheet with olive oil and press the dough into a thin, oddly-shaped rectangle. This is the pressing stage.
Look at these toppings! This is good living.
Feel free to load your pizza with anything that excites you. I went for charred sweet corn, crispy bacon, roasted hatch chiles, pizza sauce and cheesy cheese.
This is the beginning of very good news.
Let is roast in a hot hot oven until the crust is charred and bubbly.
The pizza is crispy and thin-crusted. It’s chock full of sweet and salty toppings. I love to top a pizza with something fresh. In this case, arugula! And because I can’t get enough spice these days, I added crushed red pepper flakes too.
Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough with Whole Wheat Flour
makes 2 pizzas
2 3/4 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup warm water
extra virgin olive oil for the pan
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add warm water all at once. Using a wooden spoon, work the mixture together until fully incorporated. If necessary ditch the spoon and work the mixture together with your hands. The dough will be slightly shaggy.
Cover the dough with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel. Let rise at room temperature for 2 hours.
After resting, dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide in half. If you’re only going to make one pizza, wrap the second piece of dough in plastic wrap, place in a ziplock bag, and place in the freezer. Defrost dough in the fridge overnight and allow to come to room temperature before pressing out into the pizza crust.
Working with one dough at a time, liberally oil a 13×18-inch rimmed baking sheet with olive oil. Place the rounded dough on the pan and stretch and press the dough out into a flat rectangle. If the dough springs bag as you’re pressing it out, simply wait five minutes to allow the dough to rest and then try again. The dough should be very this. If the dough tears, don’t worry, just press it back together.
3/4 cup pizza sauce
1 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
3 slices cooked bacon, chopped
3 hatch chilis, roasted, peeled, and coarsely chopped
arugula and red pepper flakes for topping
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Top pizza with sauce (all the way to the edges) cheese, and toppings.
Bake for 18 to 20 minutes until the edges are charred and bubbling. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool for a few moments then slice and top with crushed red pepper flakes and fresh arugula. Serve immediately.